Monday, February 14, 2011


Ok, so we can pretty much agree being black in America prior to, well, any time at all really, sucks a lot. We white folk have been lucky though, because even though our culture basically treats black people like crap, they've given us a ton of awesome stuff. Including this chunk of manliness:
 Um, yes please? 

Jack Johnson, aka John Arthur "I'm almost too awesome to function" Johnson, was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1878, the son of former slaves. From a poverty stricken youth in the Texas stockyards, he would eventually go on to capture the world heavy weight championship in 1908, and would face a series of 'Great White Hopes' who hilariously failed to so much as scratch the 'Galveston Giant' they considered subhuman. Johnson had 40 KOs throughout his career.

I almost feel bad for the little white guy, but you know, lynchings.

But what made Johnson so incredibly sexay was not beating the crap out of tinier human beings, but his deliberate flaunting of social mores. He founded his own night club. He smoked tons of cigars. He dressed like a pimp before it was a stereotype. He owned lots of cool hats. He verbally as well as physically emasculated his opponents, and he did a lot of drugs. And white women.

Sometimes at the same time, apparently.

Johnson had a string of affairs (and three marriages) with white women, who he then seemed to enjoy beating the shit out of, which is not so sexy, but hey. I guess they still qualify as tiny white people? Still not very admirable, but if you spent your whole life being told you were a waste of space by society, you might be a little crazy too. 

I might let a guy punch me a little if he bought me that hat. Maybe. 

Johnson's rages and abusive behavior didn't keep the ladies away, and they lined up around the block to get a chance with him. Asked about his luck with the chicks, Johnson replied: "Eat jellied eels and think faraway thoughts." 

 Oh Jack... the way to my heart! 

His libido eventually lead to his arrest and imprisonment when he took a lady friend (read expensive prostitute) across state lines. He escaped to Europe for awhile, but Europe is for pussies, so he came back to the U.S. to tell the man to stfu. That didn't go so well. While in prison, he patented a wrench.

Also good for hitting women.

Johnson also collected racing cars. Typical to his 'fuck the world' mentality, he sped frequently and illegally, once being pulled over for a 50 dollar ticket. He gave the ticketing officer a 100 dollar bill, and told him to keep the change, as he was planning on going home at the same speed. This vice, above all the cocaine, angry white people, and boxing, was what finally did him in at 68, when he died in a crash speeding away from a diner that had refused to serve him because of his color. His last wife had this to say when asked why she had loved a man so prone to basically being an asshole: "I loved him because of his courage. He faced the world unafraid. There wasn't anybody or anything he feared."

He's the guy version of the crazy hot chick, the one who burned all your clothes!

***On a more serious note, please check out Unforgivable Blackness, Ken Burn's amazing documentary on this titan of boxing history. Despite some less than admirable personal qualities, Jack Johnson was an astounding man and boxer.

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